There's been an issue that's near and dear to my heart hanging around like a bad, expensive smell and it just won't die the death it deserves: Government enforced ISP level internet filtering.
Censorship of the internet is a bad idea for very many reasons. While censorship per se is somewhat a question of ideology, I suspect most Australians would feel strongly that Government censorship is, by-and-large, something to be avoided. Regardless of that, there are many non-ideological reasons why centralised internet filtering - specifically - is a bad idea. Here are some to get you started:
- Cost - The proposal currently being pursued by the Government is very expensive. Many millions of tax payer dollars are being spent to trial - and ultimately implement - an ineffective solution which will degrade the internet for all of us.
- Cost - Not only is the Government directly spending everyone's money on a flawed concept, it will also end up costing internet users more as our ISPs pass on the significant costs of implementation to their subscribers.
- Ineffectiveness - The solution is ineffective. None of the proposed technologies have performed well in testing. In fact, they've performed so badly that it seems like there's a good chance the whole thing could be a more expensive (if that's even possible) version of the now infamous NetAlert fiasco. Anybody who actually wants to access illegal/blocked content will still be able to do so with a bare minimum of technical knowledge (the kind of knowledge most highschoolers have these days). Somebody Think of the Children highlights the Government's ability to engage in doublethink1 when it looks at the differences between the report into the trails and Senator Conroy's press release.
By allowing the government to implement this policy, we are effectively degrading the internet for everyone and lining the pockets of equipment vendors. The way to stop this happening is by making your feelings known to your representatives in parliament - put some pressure on them.
If you're interested in this issue (and you should be if you enjoy the free flow of information available on the internet2), Somebody Think of the Children is a good place to keep up to date with all the goings on. You can also find out more about what you can do to help stop the madness by visiting http://www.nocleanfeed.com.
I suggest you write to your local MP and state senate representatives about this issue and help spread awareness (i.e. tell your friends and family) about what a poor piece of government policy (and spending) this is. Then encourage them to contact their MPs as well. If you'd like any help, I'll be happy to do what I can if you get in touch with me.